Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Same Time Last Year - Green Goddess Crab


Photos 1 and 2 - Sand Beach, Acadia National Park


Acadia wasn’t the first choice for Scott, my fiancé, and I when we were planning our honeymoon last year. We were all set to go to the Grand Canyon and had secured a coveted hotel room perched precariously on the south rim. Unfortunately, work demands conspired against us, so we shortened our getaway and considered destinations closer to home. The decision to drive up the Eastern seaboard through one craggy fishing village after another enroute to our lodgings in Blue Hill, Maine, was easy. Not only had we found a region of majestic beauty, but also home to one of the premier shellfish industries in the nation. Our dining would be as memorable as our exploration of Mount Desert Island, but you wouldn’t know it from our arrival in Blue Hill.

Having taken the long, slowly scenic passage along Maine’s Route 1, we were deeply hungry and tired by the time we checked into our bed and breakfast. My mind was fixed on the idea of a lobster shack, clam hut or other unpretentious hole-in-the-wall, the more weather beaten, the better. I’d had the most bohemian, memorable meals at these types of little lean-to’s in other coastal towns throughout the years.


Crab Claws

Parsley

Tarragon

It was nearly 8 p.m. and many restaurants were not only closed at that hour, but already shuttered for the season, a mere two weeks after Labor Day. Our innkeeper recommended the restaurant of a seaside resort, one of the few places still open. We memorized her easy oral directions and dragged our bone-weary bodies, clad in grungy jeans and sweaters, back to the car.



Photos 3, 4 and 5 - Summit, Cadillac Mountain

The first turn onto the first pitch-black road was our first mistake, never mind that a sign was pointing the way. The next turn proved even more inauspicious; we lost the red tail lights of the car before us, guiding our uneasy way. At least it was something. Now we were all alone on a road that incrementally narrowed and grew gravelly under our tires. The brush scratched along the sides of the car and the road suddenly dropped and disappeared, leaving us on a dirt trail no wider than two hikers walking abreast. I wanted to go back, but there was no place to turn, and we were literally in too deep to back out without getting caught in a clutch of conifers. After inches that felt like miles, and minutes that felt like hours, we worked our way down to a clearing and a dimly lit Victorian mansion. We had finally arrived.

Thunderhole

Or so it seemed. We paced the wooden porch of the deserted building until we were greeted suspiciously by a woman whose demeanor was as severe and grizzled as her physical presence. After we justified our intrusion, the woman led us inside and pulled a map out of a drawer. A map? To get from the hotel to the restaurant? Where the hell were we and where were we going? After elaborately marking up the map with yellow highlighter, the woman sent us out into the night, admonishing us not to park our car just anywhere lest we block traffic. Traffic?

The map pushed us deeper into the darkest wilderness. The half-eaten bag of pretzels and flaccid, warm cheese sticks in the back seat were starting to look really good. We were another ten minutes into our travail, and still no “traffic.” My extravagant imagination tripped all my worst fears; I was convinced we would never return alive from those woods, that the next life form we would encounter would not be a deer in the headlights but a shotgun aimed at the windshield by a creature of sinister intent and single-digit IQ.

The Bubbles and Jordan Pond


The Bubbles

By the time we did get to the restaurant, a tomb serving a handful of diners as effete and dull as taxidermy specimens, I had no appetite left for the rich and creamy lobster pasta dish finally set before me. Deprived of my simple supper, I vowed to get my fill of all the shanty shellfish we could find for the duration of our stay. This year, when we returned to Maine, I continued my mission, plotting and planning each meal with precision as we worked up our appetites hiking steep trails in the brightest of sunshine, where we knew where we were going.


Bass Harbor Lighthouse


Green Goddess Crab Puffs (my own recipe)

Ingredients

16 miniature puff pastry shells
½ pound shredded crab meat, the freshest available
¼ cup mayonnaise, or the least needed to moisten and bind
1 scant handful chopped scallion greens
1 scant handful chopped tarragon
1 scant handful chopped parsley
Dash of black ground pepper
Salt, optional to taste
Slivered lemon peel, optional garnish

Method

Heat pastry shells in 300 degree F oven for approximately 8 minutes until warm. Follow package directions if using frozen shells.

Gently combine all other ingredients except the lemon peel in a large bowl. Fill each shell with a small amount of crab salad, then top with lemon peel if desired. Serve immediately as they are or return to oven to warm the filling for a few minutes.

Makes approximately 16 miniature crab puffs. The crab salad works equally well in grilled buns or atop a mound of mixed greens. --


This post is being submitted to Myriam of Once Upon a Tart, hosting Weekend Herb Blogging for Kalyn Denny of Kalyn's Kitchen, the creator of this weekly food-blogging event.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Been There, Done That

Scallions
Colcannon

Tarragon
Herb and Walnut Bread

Parsley
Pasta with Parsley, Capers and Olives

19 comments:

Maryann said...

Susan, THAT was a great read! So funny and witty. (I have been lost like that and envisioned the single digit IQ gunmen haha) I could eat a handful of those crab puffs. They look so good!

Lisa said...

Oh, the park looks incredible. My niece used to live close to it, and I kick myself for not getting out there when she did.

The crab puffs are calling me SO much! I actually have puff pastry shells in the fridge; not minis, but they would work—more crab salad could never be bad! Thanks for the wonderful idea & recipe. The photo is gorgeous, too.

Sandeepa said...

Beautiful pics and a wonderful read. Seems like you had a great vacation
Those crab puffs look so yummy

sra said...

Susan, this is a really nice story - I love reading your posts. Funnily enough, I had a sensation of jamais vu when I read the term 'fishing village' - I don't think I've ever heard that said of places in America. Your crab cakes look good! So do the crab claws.

Lucy said...

Stunning photos Susan. Arcadia is exactly that. An Arcadian paradise. The photo of the crab claws I can't tear my eyes from - just beautiful.

Those off-the-beaten-track places, and more importantly the hellish roads you need to travel on to get there, can very scary after dark!

Glad you're home; gladder still that you had time in the open. Wonderful post.

Cynthia said...

Nothing like being out and refreshing one's self.

The puffs are so delicate, fo fluffy, so melt-in-your-mouth good.

Simona said...

Welcome back, Susan. A great read, as always. I have never been to Acadia, but I know it is a special place. Thunderhole looks quite interesting.

rahin said...

hey susan , the puffs look sooooo cute :) nice write up abt ur trip too, my article is more food based, but it was so nice to c the glimpses of the bubbles n the sand beach n the thunderhole in urs, nice pics Susan

Susan said...

Thanks, Maryann. I’m glad you know what I’m talking about. These lost-in-the-wild experiences are only funny when you look back on them, rather than at the time. : )
The crab puffs are so tiny, you HAVE to eat a handful.
--
Hi, Lisa. Welcome! Acadia is fantastic. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, but it’s never too late for you to visit. It’s millions of years old, so it’s not going anywhere.

I bought the mini crab puffs as a novelty (they’re great for hor’dourves), but I agree with you: the more crab salad, the better. Good to see you. Thanks for visiting and your kind comments.
--
Thanks, Sandeepa. Yes, the vacation was great, but already seems a long time ago. Thank goodness for the photos and recipes I can replicate at home; they keep the memories alive. We wanted to dine in Maggie's, but were so exhausted and dirty by evening, we just drove back to our B&B which was 45 minutes away. Maybe next year. As you can tell, I want to go back again. : )

--
Hi, Sra. Thanks. The U.S. is so built up in terms of housing and commerce, that it is hard, even for me, to imagine places that are frozen in time. They’re definitely worth seeking out. Glad you like the crab photos.
--
Thank you, Lucy. Acadia really is a paradise. It was hard to decide which crab photo to include; I have so many photos, but the post was long enough already. As much as the dark was a worry, it also had its benefits. The stars shine brightest, the darker the sky. Of course, you have to get out of the forest to see them.
--
Thanks, Cynthia. Oh, it was refreshing, all right. It was so cold and windy on Cadillac Mountain (1532 foot elevation) that my fingers froze when holding the camera.
--
Simona – Thank you. The photo of Thunderhole was taken early last week, when the sea was calm. Last year, it earned its name. The waves thrash up the narrow crevice with such force and height, that the hole booms, literally like thunder. I have a photo from last year; I will send it to you if I can dig it up.

Kelly-Jane said...

That's such a well written post Susan, you really took me there, and I was scared too!

Lovely puffs so yummy looking :)

Mishmash ! said...

Susan, I cant take my eyes off of those absolutely terrific and splendid pics!!Though I have visited New England we skipped Maine thinking we will dedicate one trip fully for this place but it has not yet materialised and your pics are teasingly inviting and tempting!!!!

Shn

Rosa said...

Stunning pictures and a great story, Susan! It reminded me of all the times I have got off track on holidays, knowing that my next meal would probably be a bad one. It makes us appreciate the good meals all the more!

Shaun said...

Susan, lovie - What a scream (perhaps literally)! Macabre as it sounds, I think it is cute that you and Scott went at it like troopers, forging ahead in the darkness on your honeymoon. The photos of Acadia National Park are incredibly beautiful, though I can imagine how cold it must have been up there, even in the Summer. I'm glad that you were less fatalistic this time with respect to finding and sampling all the New England food you and Scott desired.

The crab puffs look incredibly beautiful. I'm glad for the inclusion of tarragon, for it is perfect with crab, lobster and many fish. This is a great appetizer that I will keep in mind for my next party, but when I shall have the time and energy to host one is beyond me...maybe next year!

Susan said...

Kelly-Jane - Thanks! It really was weird and scary at the time. There was a moment when I though we'd have to just sleep in the car where we were until daybreak. Now, it's just ridiculous, but a story I thought worth sharing for its entertainment value.
--
Thanks, Shn. I think it wise to dedicate one (or more) special trips for Maine. The grandeur will certainly monopolize all your time. Someday you will visit and see that the photos really can't do it justice.
--
Rosa - Thanks! First-time traveling and the meals along the way are like that box of chocolates...
--
Hey, Shaun. Thanks. Although three's a crowd on a honeymoon, you HAD to be there! It is pretty funny looking back, but need I tell you that we did NOT stay this year at the same B&B that recommended this hell ride?

Tarragon is perfect for fish and chicken. Surely you can make a little time to indulge in these, even if only for yourself...

Nora B. said...

Hi Susan, beautiful photos. And I would feel your weariness when you were looking for that restaurant in the woods. I think I would have gotten very cranky (or should I say crabby) by then - I'm not good company when I am very hungry.

Your crab puffs looks scrumptious - wonderful finger food for a party.

Susan said...

Nora - LOL! Yes, crabby is the better word. Lack of sleep usually does me in, too. Glad you like the photos. Thanks.

Kalyn said...

Great post. It sounds like a wonderful spot. I was sold on the crab puffs already and then I read that there was tarragon. Wow. Wish I could have some right now.

Susan said...

Thank you, Kalyn. Surprisingly, these tiny little puff cases only have one carb per piece. I was particularly smitten with the tarragon, too.

Cooking Blogger said...

You have very interesting blog! I really enjoy reading your posts and looking on your pictures!